Elder H. R. Puryear, the subject of this sketch, was born in Halifax county, Virginia, August 7, 1817. His father, William Puryear, removed from Virginia to Graves county, Ky., where H. R. Puryear grew up to young manhood. After his conversion he joined the Baptist church, and being impressed that it was his duty to preach the gospel, he was liberated, and was afterward ordained to the work of the gospel ministry. That he might the better discharge his ministerial labors, he decided to take a collegiate course in Georgetown College, Kentucky, from which institution he graduated when about 30 years of age. Two years later he married Miss Caroline V. Adams, of Ballard county, Ky. Seven children were born to them. Four of the children and the noble, Christian companion, preceded him to the better land. In 1857 or in 1858, he and his brother, Deacon S. H. Puryear, now of Parker county, Texas, removed with their families to this state. Elder Puryear settled in Navarro county, and for twenty years was prominent and active in all Baptist work in that part of Texas. For seven years in succession he was pastor at Corsicana; he served many years as moderator of Richland Association; was pastor at Hopewell, Providence, Rehoboth, Richland and of many other churches during this time. He engaged in many revival meetings, witnessed many conversions, and baptized large numbers. In 1877 he lost his faithful companion by death. He was marriage again to Mrs. Elizabeth Cole of Waxahachie, Texas, in 1882. In 1883 removed to Mount Calm, Texas, where he served as pastor for some time. After this he also preached to a number of the churches of Waco Association, serving as pastor at Mart, White Rock, Geneva and perhaps at other points. He was always a friend to the cause of missions, education and religious progress. He was gentle in disposition, but a bold defender of the truth as understood by Baptists. Vigorous in body and mind, he “fought a good fight,” having preached faithfully in Texas for at least thirty years. After a brief illness at his home, near Mount Calm, he passed to his reward January 12, 1888. A modest monument in the Mount Calm cemetery, erected by this three surviving children, Wm. P. and Mary Ellen Puryear, and Mrs. W. H. Pool, marks his last resting place, “Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord.”
Source: J. L. Walker and C. P. Lumpkin, History of the Waco Baptist Association of Texas (Waco: Byrne-Hill Printing House, 1897), pp. 386-387.